Monday, March 31, 2014

Former Dispatcher Tyler Graumenz Sentenced to Probation for Sharing Child Porn

A former Pennsylvania State Police dispatcher from Whitehall Township will spend the next few years on probation for sharing child pornography online.

Tyler Lee Graumenz, 24, was sentenced to five years of probation today by Lehigh County Judge Kelly Banach. Graumenz, who has been free on 10 percent of $10,000 bail, faced a maximum of seven years in prison.

Graumenz will have his computer usage monitored by probation officials and will also have to register as a sex offender under the state's Megan's Law.

Graumenz pleaded guilty back in December to a felony count of possession of child pornography. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped charges of criminal use of a communication facility and sending or receiving obscene or sexual materials via computer.
Graumenz, of the 3000 block of South Second Street, was arrested in August after police said he shared at least six child porn videos online, including one depicting a 9-year-old girl having sex with an adult male.

Graumenz was a dispatcher at the state police station in Lehighton starting in March 2013 and was terminated three days before his arrest.

The videos were discovered during an Allentown Police Department investigation of computers whose users were sharing images of child sexual assaults on the Internet, authorities said.

An officer used software to query searches on a network for known codes for images when he established a connection with a computer sharing six child pornography files, police said. That computer was tracked to Graumenz's home, and a consent search of one of his two computers turned up a folder of pornographic files.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Albuquerque Cops Murder Homeless Man, Then Sick Dog on Him

A graphic video that shows a police shooting of a homeless man in the Albuquerque foothills is raising a firestorm of controversy, and it’s not the first time police there have faced backlash over citizen shootings.

Hundreds have posted outraged comments online and a public protest of the Albuquerque Police Department is planned for Tuesday evening after police last week released the helmet-cam video, which shows officers shooting at a homeless man March 16 who they said was illegally camping, reports CBS affiliate KRQE.

 In the video, the man, James Boyd, 38, appears to turn away before he is shot by police. Boyd later died. He was struck by at least one live round, but the medical investigator’s office hasn’t determined what killed him, reports the Albuquerque Journal.

According to an Albuquerque police spokeswoman, Boyd was carrying knives and threatening to kill the officers. But critics say the incident raises alarming questions about how Albuquerque police use deadly force.

“We’ve reviewed the video, and like many people who have seen it, we found it to be fairly disturbing,” Steve Allen, public policy director for the ACLU of New Mexico, told CBS News’ Crimesider. “It certainly does raise questions about why this tragedy couldn’t have been avoided.”

For critics, the police shooting is an all-too-common occurrence in Albuquerque. Boyd’s death marks the 22nd deadly police-involved shooting since early 2010, said Andrew Lipman, who chaired the city council’s Police Oversight Task Force.

Lipman’s 11-member task force released recommendations in January calling for the creation of a totally new and independent body to act as a citizen oversight group for police.

The task force also called Tuesday for an independent review of Boyd’s shooting.
“They’re viewing this man as kind of the enemy, in a combat situation, and that’s not really what they’re there to do — they’re there to ensure public safety,” Lipman said. “…This man lost his life because he was illegally camping.”

youtube video

Jailer Bobby Byargeon Arrested for Child Molestation

A Stephens County jailer was arrested Friday and charged with aggravated child molestation, the GBI said.

Bobby Byargeon, 57, of Toccoa, faces 10 charges related to the alleged molestation and was booked into the Rabun County jail, GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang said in an emailed statement.

On Thursday, the Toccoa Police Department requested the GBI's assistance with an investigation after a victim came forward alleging Byargeon had been molesting them for over a year," Lang said. Byargeon's residence was searched for evidence related to the allegations, she said.

The GBI then obtained arrest warrants for Byargeon, Lang said.

Byargeon has worked as a jailer at the Stephens County jail for seven months, according to the GBI.

Former Officer Alvin Brook Charged with Robbing Bank

A disgraced former officer with the  Mukwonago Police Department was charged on Jan. 17 in federal court with robbing a M&I Bank in June 2010.

According to the federal complaint, Alvin J. Brook was off-duty on June 15, 2010 when he allegedly jumped over the service counter at the M&I Bank in Mukwonago and used his department-issued firearm to strong arm three clerks into giving him more than $50,000 in unmarked cash.

The complaint states that Brooks, 41, threatened to kill the employees if they exited the bank vault and then fled the scene.

One clerk told police investigating the robbery at the time that the suspect seemed to have police or military training, according to the complaint. Another employee said the gun used in the robbery resembled one issued to the investigating officer, a glock model 23.

Police noted that in the surveillance footage it appeared the robber had a hand-held radio antenna protruding from his pocket. One victim said in the complaint that she heard “police chatter” during the incident, as if the suspect had a police scanner on him, the complaint states.

The Wisconsin State Crime Lab was able to pull a latent finger print from a plastic bag left at the scene, according to the complaint, but they could find no matches for the print in the state database.

That changed after Brook was charged in November 2010 with felony misconduct. According to the criminal complaint in that case, Brook falsified preliminary breath tests for his 39-year-old live-in girlfriend, who was ordered to maintain absolute sobriety by a Waukesha County court after being convicted of her third drunken-driving offense.

Brook resigned from the Mukwonago Police Department in December 2010 after 21 years of service. He pleaded no contest to the charges in September 2011 and was sentenced to two years probation with a minimum five-month jail sentence.

Last August law enforcement received information from an unspecified source that Brook had committed the M&I Bank robbery, according to the federal complaint.

The Wisconsin Crime Lab tested the latent print developed from the plastic bag and found it matched a print for Brook. Investigators note in the complaint that it was standard procedure for Mukwonago Police officers to take home hand-held radios and Brook was issued a glock model 22 by the department.

Brook is expected to appear at a bond hearing at the Milwaukee federal courthouse on Monday, Jan. 27.

Brook’s attorney Paul Bucher said that he hopes to get his client out on bail.

“He is presumed innocent and we will have to look at the evidence available to us,” Bucher said.

Brook is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret B. Honrath, according to court records.

Officer Michael Baggett Charged with Domestic Violence

A St. Cloud police officer is under criminal and internal investigations after he was accused of domestic violence, authorities said today.

Officer Michael Baggett was arrested today and charged with domestic violence after he was served with a domestic-violence injunction, St. Cloud Sgt. Denise Roberts said in an email.

Baggett was immediately relieved of his duty as a law enforcement officer and was placed on administrative leave pending a criminal and internal investigation, Roberts said..

Baggett has been employed with the St. Cloud Police Department since June 2011.

He was taken to the Osceola County Jail, where he is being held without bond.

His photo wasn't released. Other details aren't available.

"This is an ongoing 'open' investigation; more information will be released at a later time when it becomes available," Roberts said.

Former Chief Michael Parker Facing Child Sex Charges

 Everyone, we received a message earlier stating that this cop may have all charges against him dropped in a plea deal because the chief has twice tried to commit suicide. This cop raped and sodomized a little 7-year-old boy dozens of times in the police chief's office at the police department. We ask that all of our followers like and share this post in hopes it goes viral and that the resulting publicity shames the district attorney enough so that he reconsiders and prosecutes this case.

A big development in case we've been following. You may recall when the former West Columbia police chief disappeared. Now more than a month later, he's turned up again, and he's been indicted on some very serious charges.

As the child sexual assault case against him moves forward, everyone wants to know -- where had he been?

Last August, Michael Parker was running the West Columbia Police Department. We talked to him then about a suspicious letter he was investigating.

"Given the way things are these days, you never know what's going to show up in your mailbox anymore," Parker told us in August 2012.

Now a year later, Palmer is facing multiple charges, including aggravated sexual assault of a child, and eight counts of tampering with evidence.

The former chief went on the run over a month ago when investigators turned up evidence that he'd bound, gagged and sexually assaulted a young boy, repeatedly, beginning in 1998. They even say they found bondage gear in Palmer's office at the police department.

Police and EquuSearch volunteers spent days trying to find him. He finally turned up Monday, near the town of Brazoria, where investigators with the county district attorney's arrested him.

The DA won't say exactly where he was arrested or where he'd been hiding. Palmer was released Tuesday after posting a $75,000 bond.

He wasn't home Friday when we stopped by.

West Columbia residents we talked to said they're glad he's off the street.

"He's got a problem. He's a sick fella evidently. They certainly need to take care of somebody like that," said resident Ike French.

Palmer lost his job in February before the child sex charges were filed when fellow officers complained he was stealing pain killers taken as evidence in police investigations.

Palmer still faces trial on all of the charges against him. The child sex abuse charges alone are enough to send him to prison for life if he's convicted.

Officer Desmond Pleads Guilty to Sex Charges

New Orleans police Officer Desmond Pratt, a former homicide detective who investigated a 2009 murder pinned on accused Central City crime boss Telly Hankton, stood up in orange jail scrubs Friday and lightly fist-bumped a courtroom bailiff.

He crossed his chest with a shackled hand, heaved a nervous breath and gestured to a pair of relatives sitting in the gallery. Pratt then turned to the judge and pleaded guilty to three felony sex charges stemming from separate allegations spanning 15 years, back to his days as a rookie cop.

Criminal District Court Judge Franz Zibilich recited the rights Pratt already knew and was giving up with his plea, then handed him a three-year prison sentence.

Pratt pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery and one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. He shook his head and frequently glanced back at his weeping family, who sat alongside the dry-eyed mother of the most recent victim.

The deal culminated weeks of plea negotiations between prosecutors and Pratt’s attorney, Robert Jenkins, before a trial scheduled for Tuesday.

Indicted in August, Pratt, 43, faced as much as two decades behind bars if convicted in an aggravated sex crime involving the most recent victim, whose allegation dates from last spring.

The allegation in that case was reduced to sexual battery. Pratt also faced charges of aggravated sexual assault and carnal knowledge of a juvenile from earlier incidents in 1998 and 2001. He pleaded guilty as charged to those counts. All three victims were from 13 to 15 years old at the time of the incidents.

The two older allegations stemmed from complaints made after Pratt was arrested last April.

First, a Texas woman came forward to say Pratt had abused her while she was a student at a New Orleans public school. Police then unearthed an old complaint against Pratt from 2001, when another victim accused him of abuse; NOPD detectives at the time of that complaint determined the evidence to be “inconclusive.”

Prosecutor Jason Napoli acknowledged that the two earlier victims refused to testify in the case and rebuffed prosecutors’ attempts to gain their cooperation. Most recently, Napoli said, the victim from the 1998 incident last week “informed us she was not willing to get on that flight.”

Also, the victim in the most recent incident “does not wish a severe penalty on him,” Napoli told Zibilich.

The girl’s desire, and the lack of cooperation from the others, weighed on the sentence, said Zibilich, who also noted that none of the victims wanted to make a statement in court following Pratt’s plea, as the law allows.

Still, “one can only assume at least some activity occurred,” the judge said of the allegations.

“Whether these victims have actually forgiven you is something I don’t really know,” Zibilich told Pratt. The judge urged Pratt to “address this issue” while in prison and said he would recommend that the state assign him to a special facility for security reasons.

At an earlier hearing, Zibilich had urged Pratt to consider a plea deal, noting that the most serious of the charges in the indictment could have landed him in prison for 20 years if he was convicted. “You’re at risk here,” he said at the March 13 hearing.

Just how Pratt’s conviction could affect pending criminal cases in which he has played a role remains uncertain.

Hankton, who is serving a life prison sentence for a 2008 murder, is among 13 family members and alleged associates charged in a federal racketeering case that wraps together other murders, violent crimes and an alleged drug ring dating back decades.

Among the murders was the slaying of Hankton rival Jessie “TuTu” Reed in 2009. A witness in that case, Hasan “Hockie” Williams, identified Hankton as one of the shooters, according to police, and was gunned down a few weeks later. Pratt played a lead role in the investigation of Reed’s murder, and he requested witness protection for Williams shortly before his killing, according to police documents.

In the meantime, Pratt’s involvement in another case already has caused trouble for District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office. Last year, Pratt refused to testify about a murder investigation. Through his testimony, prosecutors were trying to introduce witness statements that he took, but they were stymied by his silence on the witness stand.

That prosecution, accusing Terrance Nobles, 22, and Demond Taylor, 29, of gunning down 18-year-old Roderick Sheppard in October 2010, remains pending.

Christopher Bowman, a spokesman for Cannizzaro’s office, said he didn’t know how many pending cases may still involve Pratt as a potential witness or what will become of them.

“We’re going to deal with those on a case-by-case basis,” Bowman said.

He also said he didn’t know whether any criminal cases had been scuttled because of the sex allegations against Pratt.

Although Napoli offered no opinion in court Friday about what sentence Zibilich should impose — sexual battery carries a possible sentence of zero to 10 years — Cannizzaro agreed to the plea deal because it locked in prison time for the officer, Bowman said.

“What we got out of the deal was a guarantee for years in prison,” Bowman said. “Also, for the crimes he was convicted of, he will have to register for the rest of his life as a sex offender. We were able to satisfy our public safety objectives as well as the desires of the victims, so this was a good day.”

Pratt will get credit for the 11 months he has spent behind bars, mostly in St. Charles Parish. As he left the courtroom accompanied by an Orleans Parish sheriff’s deputy, Pratt mouthed, “I didn’t do it.” Ambling down the hallway in chains, he stopped to chat with family members and the mother of the most recent victim.

Prosecutors said she had been uncooperative in their investigation — a claim she hotly disputed to the judge.

Former Officer Alexis Robinson Arrested for Child Sex Crimes

A former police officer and head of security at a school district was arrested for multiple child sex crimes, now spanning two states.

Alexis Robinson, 51, was out on bond for sex assault charges in Kansas, when he was recently arrested by El Paso County deputies.

Robinson served as a police officer in Wichita, Kan. for 22 years. He retired as a sergeant in 2006. Then he signed on as a security supervisor with a school district in that community.

More than a year ago, police in Kansas started investigating Robinson for sexually assaulting several children after a 24-year-old man came forward saying he had been molested a decade earlier.

According to arrest papers, during that investigation detectives say an accuser in Colorado came forward, years after the alleged sex abuse. The papers say Robinson visited a family several times at their home in El Paso County in the 1990s. During those visits, the papers allege the suspect made the young boy watch pornographic movies and had him perform sexual acts.

Three victims came forward in Wichita and one has come forward in El Paso County. We are told they were all between the ages of 12 and 15 at the time of those alleged crimes.

Robinson is scheduled to be in court again later this week to discuss his bond.

Officer John T McCavitt Arrested Again for Unauthorized Videotaping

A Peoria police officer who was acquitted of rape charges last week has been arrested again — this time in connection with video recording a different alleged victim without permission.

    John T. McCavitt, 32, of 1710 W. Westaire Ave. was booked Friday into the Peoria County Jail on a felony charge of unauthorized videotaping.

    He admitted in testimony last week that he did not have his alleged victim’s permission in that case to take photographs or video recordings of their sexual encounter.

    But the new arrest stems from a different incident than the one for which he was previously charged, said Peoria police Capt. Mike Eddlemon.

    “We discovered some more information that hadn’t come to light, which led to the new criminal case,” Eddlemon said Friday. “It’s a totally different victim.”

    The evidence for the new case was uncovered during an internal investigation into McCavitt, which commenced after the criminal case concluded. The Peoria Police Department by policy waits to conduct an internal investigation until pending criminal matters against officers are resolved.

    McCavitt was taken into custody at 7:35 p.m. Friday in the 5900 block of North Sherwood Place, according to a news release from the department. Eddlemon said the alleged unauthorized video recording took place at McCavitt’s home on Westaire Avenue last year.

    When the allegation of sexual assault surfaced in July, the Illinois State Police were called in to investigate, and McCavitt was placed on paid administrative leave. The trial on that case commenced last week. A jury deliberated for only 40 minutes March 19 after a two-day trial before acquitting McCavitt of a charge of sexual assault.

    His alleged victim was an acquaintance who had been out drinking with McCavitt and his live-in girlfriend on the night of July 16 before the trio ended up back at McCavitt’s home early on the morning of July 17.

    The woman testified she went to sleep in a spare bedroom fully clothed and woke up in restraints before she was sexually assaulted. She claimed she “played possum” while she was being raped out of fear.

    McCavitt, however, told jurors the sex was consensual after she flirted with him, and he stopped and removed the restraints when the acquaintance asked him.

    The day after the alleged rape, McCavitt called in sick for his patrol shift, would not answer the door for Illinois State Police investigators and attempted to delete files from his phone and computer, according to court documents and trial testimony.

    McCavitt remains on leave from the department and will be kept on that status until the new criminal charges are resolved.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Federal Judge Allows Computer in Home of Chief Brian Fanelli Charged with Having Child Porn

A federal judge is allowing the wife of Mount Pleasant Police Chief Brian Fanelli to have a computer in their home despite his arrest earlier this year on a child-pornography charge.

Federal agents arrested Fanelli, 54, at his Mahopac home in January and seized computers they alleged contained more than 120 files of children as young as 7 engaged in sexual acts.

A lawyer for Fanelli, who is free on $50,000 bond but confined to his home and barred from using computers and cellphones, wrote to U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith earlier this month, asking that Fanelli's wife be allowed to buy a laptop computer to use at home for "bill payments and work-related emails." Her computer was among those confiscated. It contained nothing illegal, authorities said.

In his March 10 request, defense attorney Michael K. Burke says that Sonja Fanelli "understands that the laptop must be password protected and kept in a locked and secured area when not in use." Burke said his client understands he cannot use the computer and that his wife cannot share her password.

Smith approved the request after an assistant U.S. attorney and a pre-trial services officer had no objections.

Brian Fanelli's next court date is April 16 in White Plains. He is charged with possessing child pornography and could face up to 10 years in prison.

Authorities say Brian Fanelli, the father of two grown children, downloaded and viewed illegal images and videos between October and January. He was promoted to chief in November, the culmination of a 31-year career in Mount Pleasant. He was arrested Jan. 23 and was suspended with pay from his $135,518-a-year job.

He told federal investigators he first viewed the images for research for school classes he taught on the dangers of sexual abuse, then it became a habit.

Paul Oliva is serving as Mount Pleasant's acting chief.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Former Officer Robert Mullen Pleads Guilty to Distributing Child Porn

A former Oklahoma police officer who now lives in Albuquerque pleaded guilty Wednesday to distributing child pornography, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Robert Mullen, 60, was arrested in December 2013 and was charged in January for committing the crimes between August and December of last year.

Mullen will serve five to 20 years in prison when sentence, according to the DOJ.

Officer Michael Stavris Accused of Setting up Fake Facebook Account to Solicit Young Boys

Michael Stavris, the Bunnell police officer who was arrested and accused of setting up a fake Facebook account to solicit young boys for sexually explicit pictures, was using his daughter's identity, according to his ex-girlfriend.

Stavris' ex-girlfriend also has an injunction for protection against domestic violence placed against the police officer, who has been suspended without pay. The woman claims Stavris has threatened suicide unless she agreed to continue their relationship.

Stavris, 30, was arrested and charged Tuesday on two counts of computer pornography and one count of criminal use of personal identification information. His bond was set at $125,000. He has been released from the Flagler County Inmate Facility.

The injunction is temporary, and a judge is expected to issue a ruling on April 3.

Stavris was a police officer in Edgewater from 2008 to 2009 before leaving to take a position with the Duval County School District, where he worked as a school security officer from 2009 to 2010. His job had him patrolling school campuses after school hours and on the weekends. He had no interaction with children.

Former Jail Guard James Kriegner Faces More Child Porn Charges

Last month a 43-year-old former New Jersey jail guard was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography. Now he is charged with creating porn with a 15-year-old girl.

James Kriegner of Bensalem, a former Mercer County corrections officer, was arrested last month after police allegedly found more than 100 images of child porn on his computer following a three-month investigation into child pornography distribution.

Bensalem Detective Kevin Cornish reportedly found that Kriegner downloaded files of known child sex abuse from an IP address registered to Kriegner's Knights Road apartment, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Kriegner, who has been unemployed since December, later turned over two laptop computers for forensic examination under a search warrant, and one had more than 100 images of child sex abuse, court documents allege. Fifteen files were identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as containing known victims of child sex abuse, police said.

The forensic examination also found image files of Kriegner video chatting with an unidentified girl, and a folder containing sexual images that appeared to be of the same girl, police said.

Kreigner identified the girl as a 15-year-old, the affidavit shows.

Police said the girl told them she had been engaging in sexual activity with Kreigner since April.

Bensalem Detective Kevin Cornish, who handled the investigation, said he is not aware of Kreigner posting or sending photographs of the girl, but that the photos have to be sent to the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children to be checked.

Kriegner was arraigned Thursday before Bensalem District Judge Leonard Brown on charges of statutory sexual assault, indecent sexual assault on a person under age 16, unlawful contact with a minor, and related child porn and sex crime offenses.

His bail was set at 10 percent of $750,000, but he remains in Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $500,000 bail from his earlier child porn arrest.

Officer Jeremy Wyskiel Arrested for Drunk Driving

Colchester police officer has been arrested for alleged drunk driving.

Vermont State Police say they were called to assist Colchester police with a suspected DUI at about midnight Monday, because the suspect was Colchester Police Ofc. Jeremy Wyskiel, 36.

Troopers say earlier in the evening,Wyskiel was reportedly arguing with a woman in the parking lot of a Colchester bar. They later left together. Police say the vehicle was then reportedly seen driving erratically on Route 7. Colchester police caught up with the vehicle on Jason Drive and made contact with the driver, Wyskiel. Police suspected he maybe under the influence and called in state police for assistance.

State police say Wyskiel was arrested without incident and released on a citation to appear in court April 15 for DUI.

In a statement, Colchester PoliceChief Jennifer Morrison said, "VSP is handling the criminal inquiry into this matter. CPD is actively investigating a personnel matter related to this incident and will have no further comment at this time other than to offer the following public information: Jeremy Wyskiel has served as a Colchester Police Officer since September of 2008and is currently on administrative leave."

Officer Cory Owensby Charged with Several Felonies

An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer faces multiple felony charges after he was indicted Thursday following an internal affairs investigation into evidence mishandling that began nearly one year ago.

Patrolman Cory Owensby turned himself in Thursday morning after a special grand jury returned indictments on five felony counts of official misconduct. He also face five misdemeanor counts of criminal conversion and three misdemeanor counts of false informing.

He was released on his own recognizance after appearing before a judge Thursday.

IMPD Chief Rick Hite suspended Owensby without pay late Thursday and said he would recommend the Civilian Police Merit Board terminate his employment with the department.

Owensby, an IMPD Officer since 2007, is the son of Fraternal Order of Police Local 86 President Bill Owensby. Hite said that did not play a role in his investigation.

“He is a member of the IMPD. He is an officer in our department, no different than any other officer in the department. We’ll respect his tenure, but no different than anyone else on the team,” Hite said Thursday.

I-Team 8’s calls to Bill Owensby and the FOP were not returned Thursday.

Owensby was placed on paid administrative duty last fall. That’s when internal affairs investigators were first tipped off that he had allegedly mishandled evidence in at least five different cases, beginning in late 2012, according to the indictment.

Court documents obtained by I-Team 8 show Owensby is accused of failing to turn over key evidence in relation to those cases, including marijuana, prescription pills, drug paraphernalia like pipes and rolling papers, and a steel axe.

Hite acknowledged that could impact the prosecution of those cases, but downplayed the significance.

“We’re looking at what the impact has been,” he said. “But, it wasn’t a widespread kind of case where we can show chapter and verse [that] there were multiple, multiple cases impacted. At this point, we’re still looking into that.”

IMPD has dealt with other recent evidence problems as well. Blood vials were mishandled in the David Bisard case, and cocaine evidence was mistakenly destroyed by property room employees earlier this year.

Despite that, Hite says critical changes have already been made.

“We’re currently recreating a new environment within that whole spear of evidence collection and property room,” he said. “And you’re seeing, as we stated, a change in management systems, internal records management systems. You’re seeing the results of that.”

Internal investigators were also the ones to open the case, Hite noted.

“I think you’ll find it, I think, refreshing to know that this was an internal process and internal audit. We caught this. So, don’t let that go by you. We found this. Our processes work,” he said.

Hite turned over his investigators findings to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, who requested a special prosecutor. Jefferson County Prosecutor D.J. Mote was assigned to the case.

Speaking by phone with I-Team Thursday, Mote said additional details of the case are not being made public at this time because the indictments were handed down by a six-member special grand jury.

Owensby is scheduled to return to court in May.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Former Capt. Warren Tanner Charged with Sexually Abusing Minor

The former commander of a Fairbanks-based Alaska State Troopers detachment faces charges of sexually abusing a minor.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports former Capt. Warren Tanner, 75, was arrested Friday in North Pole. He was arraigned Saturday on six counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

According to charging documents, authorities allege the abuse started as early as 2003 and occurred as recently as 2011.

Court records show that the victim’s mother found text messages on her 14-year-old daughter’s cell phone “indicating she had been sexually abused” by Tanner.

A police affidavit states that the messages “stated the abuse had taken place from the time (the victim) was three or four years old and continued until she was 11-12 years old.”

During her interview, the victim disclosed “numerous incidents of sexual contact” with Tanner over several years. All but one incident took place at Tanner’s home, the victim reported. That incident outside the home allegedly took place in Tanner’s RV “during a fishing trip to Valdez when (the victim) was 11-12 years old.”

On Friday Feb. 21 the victim’s mother confronted tanner about the abuse. The police report indicates Tanner admitted to the mother the abuse took place, but Tanner refused to turn himself in to Troopers and instead said he would seek counseling regarding the alleged abuse.

Tanner is being held in the Fairbanks Correctional Center on no bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled March 4.

Officer Jimmy DeSpain Arrested for DUI

A Dyersburg police officer was arrested over the weekend on charges related to driving under the influence.

Jimmy DeSpain was arrested by the Tennessee Highway Patrol in Lauderdale County.

According to a police report, DeSpain was swerving over road lines. He reportedly admitted to law enforcement that he had four or five beers.

The police department placed DeSpain on administrative leave without pay during the course of an investigation.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Former Officer Andrew Nielsen Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Porn

A former East Hartford police officer pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Tuesday to one count of possession of child pornography, according a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office.

Andrew W. Nielsen, 49, of South Windsor, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello, Thomas Carson stated in a news release.

According to court documents, Nielsen bought several DVDs containing child pornography from a foreign company and had them shipped to his residence. The DVDs, which included pictures of pre-pubescent minors, were purchased between November 2010 and April 2011, Carson said.

Nielsen's home was searched on Nov. 1, 2012, and he was arrested the same day, he said. He resigned from the police department after his arrest.

Nielsen is scheduled to be sentenced on June 18. He faces a maximum prison term of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

He has been free on bail and on electronic monitoring under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office since November 2012, Carson said.

The charges stem from a postal service investigation that began in October 2010 into an international company that sold videos and photos believed to contain child pornography, according to Nielsen's arrest affidavit.

Investigators found Nielsen's name and invoice information in the company's database, the affidavit says, and were able to confirm that he was still receiving mail at his Pleasant Valley Road address.

They determined that over the course of about six months, Nielsen had purchased 49 DVDs from the company's website over 15 orders totaling $1,173.55, according to the affidavit.

The DVDs containing child pornography were found during the search, and Nielsen admitted to Postal Inspector Michael J. Connelly that he had ordered them and had them shipped to his house, the warrant states.

Multiple computers were also seized during the search.

The case is being prosecuted by Neeraj N. Patel, assistant U.S. attorney.

The prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood Initiative. The program is intended to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation, the release says.

Anyone who wants more information about Project Safe Childhood is asked to visit

Those who wish to report cases of child exploitation are asked to visit

Former Officer Alex Robinson Charged with Sexual Assault on Child

A former Wichita police officer and USD 259 security official is facing additional charges of child sex crimes, this time in Colorado.

This morning, 51-year-old Alex Robinson made his first court appearance in Colorado Springs. He was charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child in a position of trust.

The alleged crimes happened between June 1 and August 31 of 1996, while Robinson was visiting the state. The alleged victim was between 15 and 18 years old.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for April 25.

Last week, Robinson made his first court appearance in Sedgwick County District Court facing similar charges:

Robinson was charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy and three counts of aggravated indecent liberties in connection to crimes alleged to have occurred between 2000 and 2002. The victim in that case was 12 to 13 years old at the time.

He was also charged with aggravated indecent liberties with an 11-year-old that allegedly happened in June 2012.

Robinson is also facing two counts of indecent liberties with a 14-year-old, alleged to have occurred between August 2011 and September 2012.

He's scheduled to be back in court for a preliminary hearing in Sedgwick County on March 27.


Robinson was first arrested on similar charges in January of 2013 after a 24-year-old man came forward, alleging sex crimes that happened more than a decade prior when he was a juvenile. Crimes of that nature typically carry a 5-year statute of limitations, but Captain Brent Allred said last year that certain qualifiers could be met allowing charges to be filed in this case, several years after the statute expired.

He was free on bond until being arrested again this week.

Robinson was a 22-year veteran of the Wichita Police Department, retiring as a sergeant in 2006. He then took a job a security supervisor with Wichita Public Schools, but has not been back to work since his first arrest last year. A school district spokesperson said his employment is currently "under review."

Robinson was last interviewed by KAKE News in 2007 after receiving an award from then-President George W. Bush for volunteering more than 17,000 hours at the Boys and Girls Club.

Former Lt. Sarah Massa Charged with Stealing Prescription Pills

A former lieutenant with the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department was accused Tuesday of obstructing state authorities investigating her for prescription pill theft.

Sarah L. Massa, 36, was charged Tuesday, March 25, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with misdemeanor theft and obstructing an officer, both misdemeanors.

She could face 18 months in prison and $20,000 in fines if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, Waukesha Police contacted state authorities last year about the theft of opiate medication from the McDermott residence at 1501 Pewaukee Rd., Waukesha.

Massa was suspected of stealing the medication, which was prescribed to her grandmother, Leona McDermott, to treat pain related to terminal cancer, the complaint states.

Donald McDermott, Massa’s grandfather, told investigators that about 60 pills had gone missing after a Fourth of July party was held at the residence. He discovered that another 58 pills had gone missing in September.

In both instances Massa was at the home around the time the pills went missing. He said in the complaint that his granddaughter was a “good kid,” but she suffered from back pain and “something was going on.”

Investigators places a covert camera and a bottle of placebo pills in Donald McDermott’s bedroom in October and pills again went missing on Nov. 13.

Investigators reviewed the tape, which the complaint states was “very dark,” but it showed an individual in a police uniform with a gun holster entering the room and removing the fake pills from a nightstand.

Donald McDermott told investigators that Massa was at the residence at the time in question and identified the person as his granddaughter based on her profile.

Investigators spoke with Massa on Nov. 18. She told investigators in the complaint that she suspected her aunt was stealing the medication. She later admitted to taking the pills from the room, but claimed she knew they were not Percocet. When asked what she did with the pills, she said she consumed them all at once.

Massa went to her grandparent’s house on Nov. 21 and tried to talk Donald McDermott into dropping the charges, the complaint states. He told investigators that she admitted to taking the pills at that time.

Sheriff Daniel Trawicki said in a statement that he did not wish to speak on the matter because the case is ongoing. He said that Massa was placed on administrative leave in December and resigned from the force on Wednesday, March 5.

Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jennifer Wallschlaeger previously said that Massa had been with the department since 2001.

Her husband, Chris Massa, was an officer with the Waukesha Police Department until he resigned in late February. Police Chief Russell Jack said in a news release he was being investigated at the time for sending sexually suggestive pictures or texts to his wife while on duty.

“Based on the information available we believe that we would have been able to substantiate the charges against him, and the investigation would have resulted in discipline up to and including termination,” he said.

The evidence that initiated that internal investigation, now closed, was located on his wife’s phone.

According to court records, the case against Massa will be prosecuted by District Attorney Brad Schimel.

She is expected to make an initial appearance in court on Monday, April 7.

Former Lt. Dennis P Jenks Pleads Guilty to Repeated Sexual Assault of Child

A former Mount Horeb police lieutenant pleaded guilty Monday to repeated sexual assault of a child, for his months-long sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy who moved into his Madison apartment.

Under a plea agreement, prosecutors will ask for no more than 15 years in prison for Dennis P. Jenks, 45, who was arrested on Feb. 13, 2013, after his relationship with the boy was discovered during the investigation of another sex assault case also involving the boy.

The plea agreement also called for the dismissal of 32 other felonies, including sexual exploitation and possession of child pornography, but Dane County Circuit Judge Ellen Berz can take those charges into consideration when she sentences Jenks on April 21.

Jenks still faces a federal charge of sexual exploitation of a child. But his lawyer, Nicholas Rifelj, told Berz that under an agreement with federal prosecutors, the federal charge would be dismissed if Jenks receives at least 15 years in prison in the state case.

A 15-year sentence is the mandatory minimum for the federal exploitation charge, but because both the state and federal charges arise from the same actions, Jenks could only be given overlapping sentences, not consecutive state and federal sentences.

Jenks resigned from his job with Mount Horeb police after he was charged with sexual assault.

According to a criminal complaint, the boy, a runaway, moved into Jenks’ apartment in October 2012 after meeting on an Internet chat website.

In the meantime, neighbors of James “Alex” Gillespie, a former church music director, complained to police about parties at Gillespie’s home in Middleton. During their investigation, police learned that the 14-year-old boy had been having sex with Gillespie, and that the boy was living with Jenks at the time.

That information led to Jenks’ arrest.

In October, Gillespie was sentenced to 15 years of probation, with one year in jail as part of his probation. He is still serving the jail portion of his sentence.

Jenks could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison with 15 years of extended supervision for the repeated sexual assault of a child conviction.

Jailer Amy Beth Minor Accused of Hitting Woman Over Head with Whiskey Bottle

A Sequoyah County jailer was arrested after she was accused of hitting a woman over the head with a whiskey bottle during an argument outside a Sallisaw business.

Amy Beth Minor, 28, was taken into custody Friday by Sallisaw police on complaints of aggravated assault and assault and battery with a sharp or dangerous weapon with intent to injure, according to an arrest report.

The report states that police were dispatched to the 2700 block of West Cherokee just before 11 p.m. Friday where Minor and other woman had been involved in an argument that began over a text message.

The woman told officers at the scene that Minor became angry, spit on her and struck her over the head with a half-gallon whiskey bottle, the report said.

Detectives noted in the report that the woman was bleeding from the head and that she had to change shirts “due to the amount of blood that she already lost.”

When contacted by police, Minor explained that “she didn’t mean to hurt anyone” and that she hit the woman with the bottle after the woman attempted to punch her, said the report.

Officer Geoffrey Graves Charged with Forcible Rape

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge today ordered a San Jose police officer charged with forcible rape to turn over his firearms and not come within 300 yards of the alleged victim, a prosecutor said.

Judge Hector Ramon ordered Geoffrey Evatt Graves to surrender any gun he has to the San Jose Police Department and issued a protective order preventing him from communicating with Graves' female accuser, Deputy District Attorney Carlos Vega said.

Graves, who is free on $100,000 bail, was formally arraigned today on a charge of forcible rape in an alleged sexual assault last Sept. 22 of a woman whom Graves had just dropped off at a hotel to separate her and her husband who had been in a domestic dispute.

The officer, a Gilroy resident who is on administrative leave from the Police Department, appeared in court dressed in a dark suit and had his attorney Darlene Bagley speak on his behalf to Ramon.

The judge set a hearing for Graves to enter a plea to the felony charge for April 14 in the Hall of Justice in San Jose.

The protective or "stay away" order prohibits Graves from being within 300 yards of the victim, who is not being identified, Vega said.

At about 2 a.m. last Sept. 22, Graves responded while on duty with a second officer to an argument between the victim and her husband, who both had been consuming alcohol, at their San Jose residence, according to police.

The woman told officers she wanted to spend the night at a hotel where she once worked and Graves drove her there at about 2:30 a.m.

But according to prosecutors, he returned about 15 minutes later, knocked on the door, went into the room, threw the woman on the bed, took off parts of his uniform and her clothing and raped her.

The officer earlier had called his position in to police and then left for about 35 minutes, according to information from gathered satellite technology, Vega said.

The woman reported the incident to police on Oct. 15 and after a five-month investigation, police developed enough evidence corroborating her story to justify issuing a warrant for Graves' arrest on suspicion of forcible rape on March 10, according to police.

Graves, was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail, posted his bail and was released later that day.

If Graves is convicted of the charge, a judge could sentence him to three, six or nine years in prison under state sentencing guidelines, Vega said.

Based on the facts in the case, the district attorney's office would have prosecuted the case to the fullest regardless of who the defendant was, Vega said.

"However, there is a public factor involved," Vega said. "You have a member of our society who has been entrusted to follow the law, to enforce the law and ever since you are born and raised you were told to always obey the police and to do what you were told and they'd be there to help you, and in this case it hasn't."

The Police Department "has been very cooperative" and professional with prosecutors but "isn't happy" about the case, Vega said.

"I know our office and I think the community isn't happy about it," he said. "But I want to assure the community that everything is going to be above board and we are going to handle this like we would any other case."

Corrections Officer Terrence Pendergrass Charged with Violating Civil Rights of Mentally Ill Inmate

A New York City correction officer was arrested on Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and charged with violating the civil rights of a mentally ill inmate who died after begging for medical help from his cell for hours.

The officer, Terrence Pendergrass, was supervising the Rikers Island unit where the prisoner was being held and, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday, Mr. Pendergrass ignored subordinates who warned that the prisoner, Jason Echevarria, was in distress and needed aid. Mr. Echevarria, who was 25, was found dead hours later.

The charge in the August 2012 death comes as the city faces mounting scrutiny over conditions on Rikers Island and in particular the treatment of mentally ill inmates, whose numbers have surged in recent years. Mayor Bill de Blasio, in naming his correction commissioner, Joseph Ponte, said this month that the department had “sadly lagged behind other corrections systems.” He has vowed reforms.

Last week, news reports detailed the recent death of a mentally ill inmate who was left unattended for hours in an overheated cell on Rikers, where he was being held on a misdemeanor trespassing charge. Advocates for the mentally ill say that the deaths are emblematic of the neglect and indifference that are common at Rikers, the vast city jail complex in the East River, where violent encounters between inmates and guards have been on the rise in recent years.

The Bronx district attorney’s office periodically brings charges against Rikers guards for excessive force, but the complaint filed on Monday by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York represents the first time in at least a decade that the office has brought a civil rights prosecution in connection with Rikers.

Charged with one count of deprivation of rights under the color of law, Mr. Pendergrass appeared in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Monday afternoon and was released on $250,000 bond. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The criminal complaint filed by prosecutors paints a picture of stark official indifference, alleged to have been directed by Mr. Pendergrass, 49, who was a captain at the time but was demoted back to officer after the episode.

On Aug. 18, 2012, Mr. Echevarria swallowed a toxic packet of powdered detergent, known at Rikers as a soap ball, that had been given to inmates to clean out their cells after a leak of raw sewage from the toilets. After ingesting the soap ball, Mr. Echevarria began vomiting and complaining of severe pain.

When a correction officer alerted Captain Pendergrass to Mr. Echevarria’s condition, the captain told the officer not to bother him unless “there was a dead body,” the complaint said.

The medical examiner ruled Mr. Echevarria’s death a homicide, citing “neglect and denial of medical care.” The chemicals in the soap had sloughed off the linings of Mr. Echevarria’s tongue and throat, according to the medical examiner’s post-autopsy report.

Mr. Pendergrass, of Howard Beach, Queens, has denied that the correction officer told him Mr. Echevarria was sick, said Patrick Ferraiuolo, president of the Correction Captains Association. He said several other jail officials who were nearby did nothing to help, and noted that Mr. Echevarria had a history of acting up.

Mr. Echevarria, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had been placed in a solitary confinement unit after several suicide attempts and an attempt to swallow a battery, according to the criminal complaint. The unit where he was housed was reserved for mentally ill inmates.

Over the last five years, about 20 correction officers have been prosecuted in connection with assaults on inmates, according to the Bronx district attorney’s office, which has jurisdiction over Rikers Island.

Anthony J. Girese, counsel to the Bronx district attorney, Robert T. Johnson, said that establishing a direct line of responsibility to Mr. Pendergrass was difficult under state homicide statutes. After ruling out state charges, the Bronx district attorney worked with the United States attorney on filing the case under federal civil rights law.

After the raw sewage leak on Aug. 18, Mr. Echevarria was given a soap ball, a cleaning agent that contained, among other things, ammonium chloride, a chemical that can be life-threatening if ingested, the complaint said.

The medical examiner ruled Mr. Echevarria’s death a homicide, citing “neglect and denial of medical care.” The chemicals in the soap had sloughed off the linings of Mr. Echevarria’s tongue and throat, according to the medical examiner’s post-autopsy report.

Mr. Pendergrass, of Howard Beach, Queens, has denied that the correction officer told him Mr. Echevarria was sick, said Patrick Ferraiuolo, president of the Correction Captains Association. He said several other jail officials who were nearby did nothing to help, and noted that Mr. Echevarria had a history of acting up.

Mr. Echevarria, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had been placed in a solitary confinement unit after several suicide attempts and an attempt to swallow a battery, according to the criminal complaint. The unit where he was housed was reserved for mentally ill inmates.

Over the last five years, about 20 correction officers have been prosecuted in connection with assaults on inmates, according to the Bronx district attorney’s office, which has jurisdiction over Rikers Island.

Anthony J. Girese, counsel to the Bronx district attorney, Robert T. Johnson, said that establishing a direct line of responsibility to Mr. Pendergrass was difficult under state homicide statutes. After ruling out state charges, the Bronx district attorney worked with the United States attorney on filing the case under federal civil rights law.

After the raw sewage leak on Aug. 18, Mr. Echevarria was given a soap ball, a cleaning agent that contained, among other things, ammonium chloride, a chemical that can be life-threatening if ingested, the complaint said.

Under Department of Correction rules, correction officers must dilute the soap balls in several gallons of water before providing them to inmates. But the officer distributing them was new and not aware of the rule, according to the complaint.

About 4:30 p.m. Mr. Echevarria began banging on his cell door, telling a correction officer that he needed help after ingesting the soap ball, according to the complaint. That officer informed Captain Pendergrass of Mr. Echevarria’s condition. Captain Pendergrass told the officer that he should not be bothered “if there were live inmates in cells,” according to the complaint.

A short time later, the correction officer returned to Captain Pendergrass after seeing vomit on the window and floor of Mr. Echevarria’s cell. The captain told the officer that Mr. Echevarria should “hold it,” according to the complaint.

Captain Pendergrass’s shift ended at 11 p.m., and Mr. Echevarria had still received no medical attention, the complaint said. Several other correction officers passed through Mr. Echevarria’s unit that afternoon, evening and overnight. About 8:30 the next morning, he was found dead in his cell.

On Monday, a spokesman for the Correction Department said that immediately after the death, Mr. Pendergrass, who joined the department in 1996, was placed on modified duty. He was demoted in July 2013, and on Monday he was suspended without pay.

One correction officer, Raymond Castro, was fired after Mr. Echevarria’s death. Mr. Castro then filed a wrongful termination suit against the city and the Correction Department, claiming that he alerted Captain Pendergrass several times to Mr. Echevarria’s worsening condition and was rebuffed. In his complaint, he also claimed that he tried to call medical personnel on his own, but was stopped by Captain Pendergrass, who ordered him to return to his post.

Mr. Echevarria’s father, Ramon, filed a lawsuit in 2013 against Mr. Pendergrass and several other Rikers personnel, alleging that they violated his son’s constitutional rights.

Ramon Echevarria declined to speak to a reporter about the case on Monday.

Former Officer Henry Arroyo Jr Accused of Molesting Girl

A former Key West police officer is accused of molesting a girl for more than a year.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Henry Arroyo Jr., 41, turned himself in on lewd and lascivious molestation charges Monday morning.

According to the FDLE report, Arroyo sexually abused the girl when she was 10 years old and continued to do so for more than a year.

An investigation began in December after the girl, now 14, reported he had abused her.

According to the report, the girl claimed Arroyo would force her to touch his genitals.

Arroyo was being held at the Monroe County Detention Center on $100,000 bond.

Foster Teen Accuses Det. Oldy Ochoa of Sexual Abuse

A foster teen's allegations included in a search warrant the Pembroke Pines clerk’s office released Monday read like a script for porn.

The characters: A veteran Miami Beach detective and a teenage girl with a criminal record trying to graduate from high school.  The dark twist: She was in foster care and was living in Miami Beach Det. Oldy Ochoa's home with his wife -- a retired Miami Beach police officer. They have three sons and two step-sons.

Pembroke Pines Police Capt. Al Xiques said the investigation is ongoing.

"We are waiting on the results of DNA tests," Xiques said. "Those usually take a few weeks."

It was a day before Valentine’s Day. The two were in an unmarked 2013 silver Ford Fusion Miami Beach police car with dark tinted windows. Ochoa was taking the teen to Florida Career College, 7891 Pines Blvd., in Pembroke Pines, when he allegedly decided to park "in a secluded alley."

They kissed "in a passionate manner," the girl said. Oral sex followed.  The girl "straddled on top" of the officer who was in the driver's seat.  He didn't wear a condom and used a towel to clean himself.

The girl said she and the detective, a 24-year-veteran with Miami Beach police, "were often flirtatious with each other" via e-mail and Facebook. He also used his mobile phone to take pictures of her "while she posed," a search warrant said.

There was a second time when he used a condom, but he dropped it on the floor, the girl told police March 4. Six days later, Pembroke Pines police detectives took DNA swabs and a towel from the Miami Beach police car.

"We are cooperating with the Pembroke Pines Police Department to make sure there is a thorough investigation," Miami Beach Chief Raymond Martinez said in a statement earlier this month.

The Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Paige Patterson-Hughes said in an e-mail earlier this month the abuse report and the girl's status were confidential.

The Ochoa family declined to comment. And Miami Beach police said the detective remains suspended with pay pending the results of the investigation.

Former Officer Christopher Bowersox Caught Accessing Porn

A former Bakersfield police officer convicted of possession of child pornography was sentenced Monday to three months in custody after he violated his supervised release conditions.

Christopher Bowersox was first arrested in February 2010, accused of possessing and distributing child pornography. The FBI stated he had child pornography images on his home computer and took part in online chats in which he discussed raping, mutilating and killing young boys.

He resigned from the Bakersfield Police Department in early 2010, a few months after the child pornography investigation was launched. Bowersox had headed up the police anti-graffiti unit for a time.

Last year, Bowersox, who was released from prison, violated his parole by accessing pornography on the Internet.

Monday, the federal judge in Fresno also re-imposed a term of supervision for 117 months, during which Bowersox will be required to register as a sex offender, and his access to minors, computers and the Internet will be restricted.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Officer Tobin Barton Charged with Domestic Violence

A Columbia Police officer was arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence early Saturday morning in Columbia.

Sheriff Leon Lott says that Tobin Barton, 36, was arrested following an assault call around 1 a.m. Saturday near Sparkleberry Lane. Lott stays that Barton and his girlfriend were involved in a verbal alteration, and Barton assaulted the victim by grabbing her around the throat.

It was determined that Barton is a Police Officer with the City of Columbia.

Barton was arrested and transported to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

Jennifer Timmons with the Columbia Police Department says Barton has been suspended without pay.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Jeremiah Chesney Files Lawsuit Against City

A Jackson man has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and several of its police officers alleging he was assaulted, battered and arrested without cause as he openly and legally carried a pistol at the Jackson Secretary of State Office.

The officers violated Jeremiah Chesney’s constitutional rights under the First, Second and 14th amendments, according to the lawsuit, filed March 13 in U.S. District Court in Detroit. They showed “intentional, outrageous and reckless disregard” for his rights, falsely imprisoned him and seized his pistol without justification or provocation, the lawsuit states.

It asks for a $300,000 judgment against the city and the officers and $600,000 for “punitive or exemplary damages,” costs, interest, attorney’s fees and any other relief.

“He’s gone through a ton of distress and harm,” Chesney’s attorney, Steven Dulan, said Thursday when reached at his office in East Lansing.

“And he wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Jackson police Deputy Chief John Holda, the department’s public information officer, said he could not comment on the Chesney case because of the lawsuit. He deferred to the city attorney’s office. Interim City Attorney Bethany Smith said it is not the office’s policy to comment on pending litigation.

Chesney was openly carrying a pistol "on his person in plain view" about 5 p.m. May 15 at the Secretary of State Office in Jackson Crossing mall. He was doing so for both personal protection and to increase awareness that this is lawful in Michigan. The state office is not a “gun-free zone,” and Chesney has a valid concealed pistol license, which requires firearm training and a lack of criminal history, according to the lawsuit.

Officers forcibly removed him from the office, cuffed his hands and put him in the back of a squad car with a police dog.

Officer Timothy Black confiscated his weapon, which still is being held by the police department, according to the lawsuit.

Black; Sgt. Paul Gross; Officers William Mills, Peter Postma and Cary Kingston; and Matthew Heins, Jackson’s director of police and fire services, are named in the suit.

Chesney spent two days in the Jackson County jail before he was arraigned May 17 on charges of resisting or obstructing officers and carrying a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The charges were dismissed in September, court records show. The “interests of justice” were the cited reason, the lawsuit states.

Chesney did nothing wrong, Dulan said. “He was literally just in possession of his gun at this time.”

The involved officers overreacted, he said. “They pulled his hair, treated him quite roughly.”

Dulan said cameras from the Secretary of State Office and a police vehicle or police vehicles captured the incident on video and the video showed Chesney did not resist.

An effort Friday to reach Chesney was not successful.

As a result of the officers’ actions, Chesney suffered physical and emotional injury, loss of freedom and loss of other constitutionally protected rights, the lawsuit states. He was humiliated, mortified and embarrassed.

The lawsuit further alleges the police department has not properly trained its officers in Michigan firearms law. City police have repeated violated the constitutional rights of people like Chesney, the suit states.

It seems there is a lack of training in cities all around Michigan, said Dulan, who sits on the board of the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, does legal instruction for concealed pistol licensees and teaches firearms issues at Thomas M. Cooley Law School. “Street officers either don’t know the law or don’t care what the law is,” he said.

Dulan also is representing a Grand Rapids man in a similar, pending case filed in December in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids. Johann Deffert was walking March 3, 2013, on a public sidewalk, openly carrying a holstered pistol, when an officer approached. He drew his service pistol and aimed it at Deffert, according to the lawsuit. He ordered Deffert to the ground, handcuffed him behind his back and removed the gun from the holster. The Grand Rapids Press obtained a video of the confrontation.

“The stop, pat-down search and brief detention of plaintiff were supported by reasonable suspicion and/or other legal cause,” assistant city attorneys wrote in a response to the lawsuit.

Officer Liam Donahue Arrested for DWI

A 22-year-old off-duty police officer was arrested early Saturday on charges of driving while intoxicated, according to police.

Liam Donahue was arrested just after 6 a.m. in Queens, when he crashed his vehicle into an empty parked car around the intersection of 40th Avenue and 218th Street, police said.

Donahue refused to take a breathalyzer test offered to him by members of the NYPD who questioned him at the scene, the NY Daily News reported.

He was taken to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset for further evaluation, according to the NYPD.

Donahue had joined the force in July 2013, and had been working as part of the Patrol Borough Manhattan North since, the paper wrote.

Officer Scott Pennell Charged with Aggravated Assault

A Chandler officer is behind bars on felony charges after he was arrested for a domestic violence incident at his home.

Officer Scott Pennell faces two counts of aggravated assault, two counts disorderly conduct, one count of stalking and one count of kidnapping.

Pennell's live-in girlfriend tell Chandler Police that on Wednesday he held her down on the couch and tried to strangle her.  According to a police report from Chandler Police, Pennell then called the victim's mother in Vermont and claimed he was going to kill his girlfriend.

His girfriend called Chandler Police on Thursday morning when he returned to the house.  The victim received medical attention, and a forensic nurse confirmed there were marks on the woman's neck consistent with strangulation.  Pennell surrendered to police at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sgt. Charles Miller Arrested After High Speed Chase

A New Orleans police officer was arrested Friday morning after he allegedly refused to wait for an officer to issue him traffic citations, and instead snatched his driver’s license and documents from the officer and fled the scene.

Investigators said an officer pulled over 26-year veteran Sgt. Charles Miller Thursday about 8 p.m.

Police said Miller was speeding on US 90-B near Claiborne Avenue.

The truck Miller was driving didn't have a license plate either, police said.

Miller took the St. Charles Avenue exit, and pulled over for the officer at Calliope Street and St. Charles. He allegedly turned over his driver’s license and registration to the officer, but minutes later, snatched his items back from the officer, which injured her wrist, according to the New Orleans Police Department.

Detectives said Miller sped off in his truck and led the officer on a high-speed chase.

During the chase Miller ran a stop sign, drove through a red light, drove at speeds near 90 miles per hour and committed other traffic violations.

The officer stopped pursuing Miller because she believed the chase was a serious threat to the public’s safety, investigators said.

Miller turned himself in to authorities on Friday at the Public Integrity Bureau.

He was booked on charges of speeding, no license plate, expired driver’s license, battery on an officer, aggravated flight from an officer, disregarding a stop sign, disregarding a red light and reckless operation of a vehicle.

He was placed on emergency suspension without pay.

Officer Michelle Turner Charged with Sexual Battery

A veteran North Port police officer was arrested Thursday night on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment, while a fellow officer took his own life before a warrant for his arrest was served.

Police crews were at the North Port home of the late officer Ricky Urbina well into the night, investigating his death.

The veteran police officer was about to be arrested on the same charges as his fellow officer, Michelle Turner.

The investigation into their misconduct, started in early March.

"I had a feeling he was involved. Only because his police car hadn't been here for the past couple weeks. Crazy anything like this goes on in such a small town," a neighbor on Urbina's street told 10 News.

"He was a nice guy."

In the heavily redacted affidavit, the victim, (who, in accordance to our 10 News Crime Guidelines, will not be named), claims she was handcuffed by Officer Turner and taken into a bedroom at a birthday party.

That's where the alleged sexual assault involving both officers took place. The details are so graphic, 10 News has chosen not to reveal them.

Urbina was on duty at the time of the party, and Turner was not.

In a press conference today, the Sarasota Sheriff's Office explained there was an agreement in place: If either officer would be arrested, they'd be notified ahead of time. Turner complied and was taken into custody.

Urbina had one request. To be arrested at a location separate from his home, but as detectives were en route to the location, there was a shooting at his home. Urbina was found dead.

The North Port Police Chief is scheduled to hold a press conference at 11:00 a.m. on Friday. 10 News will have more information as it becomes available.

Officer Jonathan Chel Arrested for DUI

A Los Angeles Police Department officer was arrested Friday morning after his personal car crashed off the westbound Pomona (60) Freeway in Diamond Bar and ended up in a McDonald’s parking lot, according to authorities.

The driver lost control of the vehicle after exiting the freeway at the Brea Canyon off ramp around 1 a.m. The vehicle landed near the drive-thru lane at a McDonald’s restaurant right next to the freeway, CHP said. According to a witness, the car blocked both of the drive-thru lanes at the restaurant, located about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

The driver was identified as Officer Jonathan Chel, of Fullerton, who remained hospitalized early Friday afternoon.

LAPD officials confirmed Friday morning that the 29-year-old driver is an LAPD officer. The California Highway Patrol confirmed the driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

"I'm the first one to respond and all I hear is one person yelling like, 'Oh, there's somebody in there. Do you have anything to break the window?'" McDonald's employee Aaron Morales said. "I had keys in my hand. I sat there for about two minutes just trying to break the window, anything I could, wrap my hand up and just started banging on it."

Morales said that a employee at a nearby gas station had a tire iron that he was about to use to break the window, but then police arrived and assisted the driver.

Former County Deputy Aaron Heuer Pleds Guilty to Four Counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct

A former Mille Lacs County sheriff’s deputy who volunteered at a summer camp in Otter Tail County  has plead guilty to criminal sexual conduct charges and could face 33 years in prison.

The Otter Tail County  Attorney’s Office announced that Aaron Joseph Heuer of Isle, Minn., pled guilty to four counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second degree criminal sexual conduct with five separate victims. As part of the agreement, Heuer will also plead guilty to one count of first degree criminal sexual conduct in Mille Lacs County.  The plea agreement calls for a sentence of 396 months in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 8 in Otter Tail County District Court.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) led the investigation involving Heuer and identified incidents at two locations in June 2013. According to the criminal complaint, the first incidents took place when Heuer was volunteering as a fishing guide at Lutheran Island Camp in Henning, Minn.  As part of his plea, Heuer admits that he inappropriately touched four male victims, ages 8-10, and instructed them to have sexual contact with him. Additional incidents are alleged to have taken place with two of the victims on a separate fishing trip in Aitkin County that was unrelated to the camp. Investigators believe Heuer knew all of the victims prior to the incidents.

The BCA conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Mille Lacs, Otter Tail and Aitkin County sheriff’s offices and the Otter Tail County, Aitkin County, and Stearns County Attorney’s offices.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sgt. Jason Curry Arrested for Drug and Prostitution Charges

A sergeant with the Andalusia Police Department was arrested Wednesday night on multiple charges, including illegal drugs and promotion of prostitution.

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson and Interim Police Chief Paul Hudson identified the officer as Sergeant Jason Curry and say he was relieved of his duties following the arrest.

WSFA 12 News initially reported that Curry had been fired, but that is not accurate. Even though Curry has been relieved of his duties, Mayor Johnson says he must have a pre-determination hearing to determine if further disciplinary actions, including termination, are warranted.

Much of the details are still limited, as the investigation is ongoing. Officials with the ABC Board confirm they are investigating at the request of the Covington County District Attorney's office and assisted with the arrests.

Curry is charged with Distribution of Controlled Substances, Possession of Controlled Substances and Promotion of Prostitution. Curry's father, Otis "Randy" Curry, was also arrested and charged with two counts of Distribution of Controlled Substances.

Jason Curry's bond was set at $165,000. Otis Curry's bond was set at $200,000. Both have since posted bail and are currently out of jail.

Curry's pre-determination meeting could be held as early as next week.

Officer Charles Hagge Arrested for Sexual Abuse of Minor

A Baltimore police officer was arrested Wednesday in Howard County and charged with sexual abuse and solicitation of a minor, county police said.

Charles Hagge, 44 of the 8800 block of Goose Landing Circle in Columbia was arrested after police say he communicated with a 14-year-old advertising prostitution services online.

Howard County police said investigators believe the two exchanged text messages before meeting at his home and engaging in sexual activity on three occasions between January and May 2013.

Police said Hagee was taken into custody at Baltimore police headquarters on charges of third- and fourth-degree sexual offense, sexual solicitation of a minor and prostitution. Hagee was being held on $75,000 bond and did not have a lawyer listed in court records.

Howard County police said Hagee was assigned to the Special Enforcement Section, an elite unit that investigates violent crimes. Baltimore police said Hagee worked in administrative roles and would be suspended with pay if he posts bond, per department policy.

For years, Hagee had been on a list of officers deemed untrustworthy by prosecutors, known as the "do not call" list, under the administration of former Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. The list was a tool for prosecutors to prevent police from working on cases in which their integrity might be challenged on the stand.

The Baltimore Sun reported in 2008 that Hagee had responded to a woman's 911 call in 2004 even though he knew he was the subject of her complaint, and then attempted to misdirect other officers into chasing a fake suspect.

At a department trial board, Hagee pleaded guilty in August 2006 to two administrative charges of conduct unbecoming a police officer and received a 10-day suspension, loss of 10 days' leave and involuntary transfer from the Organized Crime Division, according to court records.

He was allowed to return to enforcement work briefly in 2008, but after prosecutors discovered the 911 case and Jessamy placed him on the do not call list, he was assigned to administrative duties, according to records and news reports.

Hagee sued the Baltimore Police Department in 2009, alleging that he suffered racial and gender discrimination as a white male. He alleged that black and female officers in similar misconduct cases received lighter punishment. The lawsuit was dismissed.

Court records show that Hagee was not a police witness in any case filed in court from the time he was placed on the list until 2011, after the election of State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein, who vowed during his campaign to abolish the list. Hagee is listed as a police witness in about a dozen cases, including a burglary case from 2013 in which a man received four years in prison.

Asked for comment on the status of the do not call list, spokesman Mark Cheshire said the state's attorney's office does not maintain such a list.

"We conduct evaluations on case-by-case basis to determine if we can go forward with the evidence we have," Cheshire said.

City records show that Hagee earned more than double his base salary in fiscal year 2013, with gross pay of $138,800 on a base salary of $65,200. In fiscal year 2012, he earned about $130,800 on $64,600 base pay.

Retired Officer Lawrence Stead Arrested for Leaving the Scene of Accident

Police have arrested a retired Cambridge police officer from Quincy they say is responsible for crashing into a pedestrian and driving off on Wednesday morning.

The crash happened around 6 a.m. on Wednesday in front of the Mass. Ave. T station.

The victim, said to be a middle-aged man, was rushed to Boston Medical Center with serious injuries. Police say he may have been in the crosswalk at the time of the crash.

Within hours of the crash, police found the gray 4-door 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis with Mass. license plate 145G that fled toward Columbus Avenue after the crash. The driver, 69-year-old Lawrence Stead of Quincy, was later arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident causing personal injury.

Cambridge police confirm that Stead is a former officer in that city. He retired in 2009 after 35 years with the department. Stead was released on $10,000 bail and will be arraigned on Thursday.

The 300-block of Mass Ave. was closed through the morning commute.

Officer Jeffrey Morgan Arrested for Possession of Heroin

A veteran Chandler police officer has been arrested for possession of heroin.

Documents show Jeffrey Morgan, a 13-year veteran, was arrested March 4 and resigned from the Chandler police force March 7.

"Our drug policy is very simple, you cannot have any illegal drugs in your system," said Detective Seth Tyler with the Chandler Police Department.

Early in March, Chandler police received information that Morgan was buying and using heroin.  Police searched Morgan's apartment where they say they confiscated evidence including a chunk of suspected heroin and drug paraphernalia.

Tyler said it's normal procedure for them to investigate their own.

"This is not the first time, unfortunately, that we've had to investigate one of our officers for a criminal offense," Tyler said. "This had happened in the past. Unfortunately, it will happen again in the future."

Morgan was a motor officer in the traffic unit.

"They focus on two things; they focus on enforcement on the roadway, and they focus on roadway impairment," Tyler said.

But now his cases could be impacted with this felony arrest. Morgan resigned a few days after the search warrant was served.

"Our function as police in our society begins with the public trust," Tyler said. "If the public trust is compromised in any way, we will take swift action."

Morgan was processed and booked into jail. He is free pending formal charges being filed by the county attorney.

Officer Christopher Stafford Arrested for DUI

A Metropolitan Nashville Police officer has been decommissioned and placed on administrative assignment following his arrest Wednesday night on DUI and gun charges.

Christopher Stafford, a North Precinct Officers, was off-duty at the time of his arrest. Officers were called to an apartment complex on Edmondson Pike at 6:40 p.m. by an acquaintance of Stafford, who said he appeared to be intoxicated and involved in an argument with another motorist.

Police said the 42-year-old had driven to the apartment complex in a Dodge pickup truck with his young child.

Officers said Stafford smelled of alcohol and field sobriety tests showed he was impaired.

He also had a loaded pistol in his car at the time.

Stafford, a 13-year veteran of the department, was charged with DUI and possession of a handgun while under the influence.

He was released on $6,000 bond.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Officer Danson Cappo Charged with Domestic Violence

A Honolulu police officer is facing charges in conneciton with a domestic violence case.

Officals say 27 year old Danson Cappo was arrested for alleged family abuse on Sunday.

He was released on  a $1000 bail.

Police records show Cappo has been with the force for two years.

A Honolulu police officer is facing charges in connection with a domestic violence case. Officials say 27-year-old Danson Cappo was arrested for alleged family abuse on Sunday. He was released on one-thousand-dollars bail. Police records show Cappo has been with the force for two years. - See more at:
A Honolulu police officer is facing charges in connection with a domestic violence case. Officials say 27-year-old Danson Cappo was arrested for alleged family abuse on Sunday. He was released on one-thousand-dollars bail. Police records show Cappo has been with the force for two years. - See more at:
A Honolulu police officer is facing charges in connection with a domestic violence case. Officials say 27-year-old Danson Cappo was arrested for alleged family abuse on Sunday. He was released on one-thousand-dollars bail. Police records show Cappo has been with the force for two years. - See more at:

Officer Salvador Becerra Arrested for Groping Woman he Arrested

As many as six women have come forward saying that an Odessa police officer detained them and then groped their breasts. The allegations began to surface after a woman who was arrested for having a joint in her pocket reported the groping.

Obtained affidavits state officer Salvador Becerra allegedly brought at least three and likely more women back to his patrol car where he talked to them and then proceeded to put his hands under their bras and felt their breasts. During this time, he turned off audio on his unit’s recording equipment, but cameras corroborated the women’s stories.

On March 9 of this year, Becerra detained a woman who admitted to having a joint in her pocket. The affidavit on the case states that Officer Becerra told her that “if she made an exception then they would not go to jail.” It was then that the woman reluctantly allowed him to touch her breasts. She reported the incident soon after.

This resulted in investigators looking into the allegation and finding that it held merit after reviewing camera footage. Soon after more women began to make complaints about the officer.

While reviewing footage, investigators found a similar issue on February 21 in which another woman had made a similar complaint.

A third incident was then found and the affidavit states a third victim was contacted by Becerra on March 2, just a week before the incident which uncovered these abuses of power, in the parking lot of Floyd Gwenn Park in Odessa. It states that while on duty and in uniform, Becerra detained the third victim, asked her breast size, and “inserted his hand under [her] bra and shirt and fondled one of her breasts.”

So far, these three incidents have resulted in charges and three other women have come forward as well.

Becerra has since bonded out of Ector County Jail and is wearing an ankle monitor. He is charged with Improper Sexual Activity with a Person in Custody and Violations of the Civil Rights of a Person in Custody.

Odessa Police asks anyone with any information concerning such incidents to call their 24 hour number at 333-3641 or 335-4961 to speak to the acting Lt. Commander.

Officer Christopher Russo Arrested After Lying About Being Stabbed

“Blame a black guy” excuse never gets old for some people. A former “Officer of the Year” who claimed that he was ambushed and stabbed by two black men during a robbery finally admitted that he totally made up the whole story and is now facing charges…as he should!

A police officer was arrested after making up a story about being ambushed and stabbed by two black males. According to reports by WSB-TV, Clayton County Police Officer Christopher Russo filed a false report with police in McDonough, Ga.

Russo told officers he walked into a burglary in progress at an apartment complex while off duty. He said two men ambushed, punched and peppered sprayed him then cut him with a knife. In the police report, he said the two men sounded like black males.

McDonough police investigated the scene and realized that it was highly unlikely that a burglary took place. After Georgia Bureau of Investigators questioned Russo, he confessed and told them he made the story up and stabbed himself.

Without proper police work, two innocent black males could have been arrested and charged with the assault and stabbing of a police officer.

Russo was arrested on charges of false report of a crime, a misdemeanor and making false statements. He has since been released on bond.

Detective Derik Carson Kumagia Arrested on Federal Charges

A Fresno police detective was arrested Tuesday on federal charges that accuse him of taking a $20,000 bribe from a suspected drug dealer.

Vice intelligence squad detective Derik Carson Kumagai, 40, and alleged co-conspirator Saykham Somphoune, 40, of Clovis, were booked into the Fresno County Jail on charges of conspiracy, bribery and extortion, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Cullers said at a news conference in U.S. District Court in Fresno.

A criminal complaint says Somphoune, who is not a law enforcement officer, also took or agreed to accept a bribe from the suspected drug dealer.

They will be arraigned today in federal court.

"It's a sad day for the Fresno Police Department," said a solemn Police Chief Jerry Dyer, who joined Cullers and other federal law enforcement officials at the news conference.

Dyer said Kumagai has been with the Fresno Police Department since June 2000. For the past 14 months, he has been assigned to the vice intelligence unit, the chief said. The unit investigates things like prostitution and outlaw biker gangs and assists narcotics officers with major drug investigations.

Dyer said there was nothing in Kumagai's background to alert his supervisors to any potential wrongdoing. Kumagai is now on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal police investigation. Dyer said the officer has given up his badge and service weapon for the time being.

"I'm disappointed," Dyer said. "It's cases like this that erode the trust that our citizens have in the police department."

Cullers declined to discuss the relationship between Kumagai and Somphoune, but he and the criminal complaint outlined the allegations against the pair:

According to Cullers, federal agents had been investigating a marijuana operation for about two years when they learned Kumagai and Somphoune had met with a suspected drug trafficker several times last fall.

In late October, Somphoune first told the suspected drug dealer that "Kumagai and others were asking for $60,000 in return for closing the purported investigation," the complaint says. Then on Oct. 22, Somphoune and Kumagai met with the suspected drug dealer, the complaint says, and told him the federal investigation "could be dropped in return for a bribe payment."

On Nov. 6, 2013, the suspected drug dealer paid Kumagai $20,000 cash, the complaint says.

After the bribe was paid, the suspected drug dealer completed documents to become a confidential police informant.

Cullers said the suspected drug trafficker had a motive to become an informant: "He could fly under the radar" and not be suspected in investigations.

Dyer said Kumagai didn't have the authority to sign up an informant. According to department policy, Dyer said, the Fresno County District Attorney's Office must sign off on anyone who wants to become an informant for police.

The case was the result of an investigation by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grant Rabenn and Kevin Rooney are prosecuting the case.

If convicted of conspiracy, the two defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, Cullers said. A conviction on the bribery charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.